In the Lectionary

October 18, 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Job 38:1-7, (34-41)

The whirlwind approaches. The stage is set. We know what to expect from the predictable theology of “God is God and you are not,” of “God is right and you are wrong.” This theology may cause casualties, but collateral damage can be expected when you must be right. Job has anticipated what will happen: he has summoned God to answer him, and God will now crush him with a tempest (9:16–7). God has been silent since the second chapter, but Elihu predicts God will speak like thunder and shout down Job’s complaints (37:2).

We know what to expect from these ancient storm deities. God the cosmic bully will finally put Job in his place.

Job has lamented his losses, pleaded his innocence, declared the injustice of creation, raised suspicion about the fairness of God, and cursed his own existence. Eliphaz points out that these attitudes are hardly conducive to religious faith and practice (15:4). Elihu wonders who could say to God, “You have done wrong” (36:23). Job hasn’t quite said this, but he has come close enough for his friends to recoil in outrage. Now God takes over the conversation with a whirlwind to blast away Job’s complaints. It is time for the Lord to answer all the questions and clean up the confusion.